Idea sent in by Barry (Cornwall) - June 2011
It is not just bees that are in decline in the UK but the numbers of many of our other beneficial insects are also dwindling at an alarming rate. I was horrified to read in the June 2011 edition of RHS magazine (p369) that 75% of our native butterfly species are now in decline also. So it's up to us gardeners to help reverse this trend, by providing more beneficial habitats for these beautiful creatures.
To this end, I recently purchased a small Butterfly House to hang in the garden, thus a providing a safe place for butterflies to rest and spend the winter. According to the instructions these little houses can also be used for roosting or even for chrysalis transformation. The Butterfly House is very small (20 x 10 x 10 cm) and takes up hardly any room. The butterflys can fold their wings and enter the vertical slits in the sides. Also because it is brightly painted it looks very attractive in amongst the other flowers. I have placed it above one of my hanging baskets, which has been planted-up with natural flower species such as violas and pansies, which provide a useful food source for butterflies coming out of hibernation.
I also plan to add a general purpose insect nesting box in the garden so that other insects can make a home and take refuge from predators.